Her biggest secret. Bethenny Frankel makes a shocking confession about her relationship with her late on-again, off-again beau, Dennis Shields, in a taped therapy session on The Real Housewives of New York City.
“I mean, it’s really brutal. He was really someone that I went to for everything,” the Bravo star, 48, reveals in a confessional on the Wednesday, April 3, episode. “So him being gone is just a massive void and I really can’t believe he’s gone.”
Frankel then struggles to fight back tears as she discusses her grieving process with a therapist. “He had such a powerful force in my life and [was] such a loving person and my daughter loved him that it was this whole thing that was hard to extricate myself from,” she explains. “But I had just said though that week, I haven’t told anybody this, I had just said the Saturday before [he died], ‘I have to exit this dynamic.’ So then it was a lot on my mind about him dying right after that. I could not get off the ride and I feel guilty that the only way I got off the ride is that he’s dead.”
Shields was found dead at age 51 in August 2018 from a suspected prescription drug overdose. He met Frankel nearly 30 years earlier and the pair had been dating on and off since 2016, after she split from husband Jason Hoppy, with whom she shares daughter Bryn, 8.
“Dennis told me, [if] we didn’t work out, he was never going to be in a relationship again. He was going to be alone for the rest of his life,” the Skinnygirl founder recalls during her confessional. “It was a tremendous pressure and it kept me in. I don’t know what happened that night and I will always have to live with that, for whatever that means.”
Frankel then admits to her therapist, “Now I feel better, and I feel guilty that I feel better, but I feel like he would want me to feel better and I try to make decisions based on what he would want me to do.”
The Skinnydipping author, who has been dating businessman Paul Bernon since October 2018, previously opened up about her relationship with Shields during the March 20 episode of RHONY. “Dennis and I went out to dinner in April and he proposed,” she shared at the time. “It’s funny because he said to me, ‘Well, did you say yes?’ And I said, ‘Well, I love you, and I can’t believe you did this, but we have to talk about some conditions and some terms and how things are going to change, issues I’ve had with partnership and consistency.”
She added: “It was all very complicated and it wasn’t what a natural engagement should be. So our engagement was on ice.”
The Real Housewives of New York City airs on Bravo Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET.